Alonso’s Monaco GP absence “unfortunate” – Carey

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula One CEO Chase Carey says it is “unfortunate” Fernando Alonso has decided not to race in this year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

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IndyCar won much praise for their live, free online coverage of Fernando Alonso’s first test:

Was able to see Alonso test the Indycar at IMS from their website for free. Hope F1 does something to relay the tests from next year onward.

Also loved the debrief and the on track chat between the team owners. Shows how disconnected F1 is with its viewers.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Alonso’s Monaco GP absence “unfortunate” – Carey”

  1. racerdude7730
    5th May 2017, 0:16

    F1 should take note from Indycar when it comes to getting the product out to fans. For a simple one car test Indycar had over 2 million online viewers to watch something that is simple like testing. You also have to remember that in america this was over work hours and to have 80,000 people watching at any one time live is amazing to me. If F1 would stream tests and races the numbers would be very very good i think and even tests people would love to see the rigs and how teams get car information in a testing setting. Indycar did a full on TV style broadcast for the test. Hope everyone got to watch some of it.

    1. This is what annoyed me, I say it every year, as do others, that it would be good if the preseason tests were streamed like this. But there is always strong opposition, arguing no one would watch and it would be too boring. I don’t see it as an argument, but more as apologetics for the backward the ways of F1. Will you change your tune now people? And let’s remember, this was only one car, turning only left, imagine 10 cars turning left AND right. The math says that should be 2m x 10 x 2 = 40 million viewers (if the streams were as easily accessible as they were for this).

      1. Couldn’t agree more, mate. Said this for absolutely years! Of course people would watch it. I think the Indy test dispelled this myth!

      2. great maths, @mateuss ;)

      3. The math says that should be 2m x 10 x 2 = 40 million viewers (if the streams were as easily accessible as they were for this).

        You Math Badly

      4. Or even 2m ^ 10 ^ 2 = 1 x 10^126

        There wouldn’t even be enough people on the planet to quench the thirst that we would have for F1 testing!

    2. F1 is too closed shop and secretive. The pundits are forever guessing and overhyping the sport to keep themselves in jobs.
      I do like the technology side of it, but everyone in F1 seems too far up their own backsides.
      Watching the personal and pundits at the Indy test was a breat of fresh air.

    3. agreed, I would probably pay a reasonable fee 5 euro or something to watch a live stream but you have to remember all those pay wall tv deals that the previous owners did have contracts that run on for a long time.
      Liberty cannot just throw F1 onto youtube, imagine what Sky, fox and cnn would do.

      Also, the commentary is very important for me and I have watched it on cnn before and it was appalling. I only really want to have C4 or Sky F1 commentary not some old amercan duffer who cannot pronounce any of the names right and has no idea what he is commentating on.

      Hopefully, F1 can work with all of the pay TV vendors that they already having binding contracts with to loosen the the grip behind the paywall and get it onto the internet for eveyone to watch.

      I note that the recent addition of highlights on the f1 youtube channel are using the SKY F1 feeds which is a positive sign.

    4. 2 million views only came about because of Mr. I would Run Away. It was just gawking…the same would happen for example if Messi decided to play a mls game.

      1. Exactly, the viewing figures were high only because one of Formula 1’s best drivers (sorry, products) was involved. However I think Carey has got this wrong. If Alonso does well or even wins, that’s extra publicity and positive kudos for Formula 1.

        The problem in negative image terms isn’t Alonso, anyhow, it’s Honda/McLaren turning a brilliant driver’s career into a farce.

  2. F1 should take note from Indycar when it comes to getting the product out to fans. For a simple one car test Indycar had over 2 million online viewers to watch something that is simple like testing. You also have to remember that in america this was over work hours and to have 80,000 people watching at any one time live is amazing to me. If F1 would stream tests and races the numbers would be very very good i think and even tests people would love to see the rigs and how teams get car information in a testing setting. Indycar did a full on TV style broadcast for the test. Hope everyone got to watch some of it.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      5th May 2017, 2:01

      For a simple one car test Indycar had over 2 million online viewers to watch something that is simple like testing

      Whilst I agree that they’re doing all the right things to allow people to watch and that F1 should do similar things, the number of viewers they had for the Alonso test was massively inflated for the simple fact that pretty much all of the F1 world was watching. I know on the Youtube feed they had a consistent ~60,000 viewers.

      If you go look at pretty much any other video on the Indycar channel, they struggle to get 5,000 views.

      I call it, the ‘Alonso factor’ :P

      1. Yes i know it was because of alonso im just saying i think F1 should do this because the posibilitys are almost endless with this and that indy does a good job. Most of their stuff dont get the views and the number were not inflated. They have the raw data on it. When i was watching they were at 73,000 live and the official figures recorded by YouTube and Facebook showed a combined overall viewership of 2,149,000 views. Thats pretty good even if it was just for the fact its alonso.

  3. Did it not get 2 million views mainly due to Alonso? Even the presenters said as much. Comments on youtube lead me to this conclusion too. So I do not think that the viewer numbers of an unusual test is an sole indication of “getting something out to the fans”. If anything, counter to what you are saying, F1 marketing has benifited indycar in this instance.

    I have never watched an indycar race for more than a few minutes. I had never watched testing before. It was only Alonso that made me curious. I watched a lap or two, watched his double bird kill. That was enough for me untill the race.

    I conceed that sports in the US may be packaged, marketed and sold better. But personally, I dislike too much glitz and glamour and over presentation. Somtimes I much prefered gary anderson sketching somthing on a piece of paper rather than watching a TV on a TV while Anthony Davidson fingers it to death.

    1. That was in reply to @racerdude7730

    2. For those of us who are used the European style presentation of sports, the American packaging does come across as rather grandiose at times. Then again, I suppose this is what their core audience expects.

      Apart from the excessively smug Ted Kravitz, I quite enjoy Sky’s Broadcast of F1. I think they make the most out of whatever data they get from F1.

  4. I think it’s great. It’s going to give F1 a kick up the backside it needs. Another one.

    As a racing consumer, I’m not loyal to any particular formula as such, but I do like the brands. I like Ferrari talking about Formula E, but it’s not nearly as exciting as seeing what an F1 driver can do in an IndyCar. Espcially Alonso who is arguably the most unfortunate / talented and capable driver in F1.

    I also would prefer that I pay a smaller fee for streaming content on a pay per view basis, maybe that’s coming if the competition between formula’s heats up.

  5. Good call ‘COTD’
    Even MOTO GP show their tests.
    Cmon F1 get with the times

  6. Agree totally with COTD, it’s always been a frustration to me that the local broadcaster would rather fill their 4 channels with 20 year old soaps and sitcoms than show the F1 testing that presumably was available to them at no extra cost, while FOM would block any online coverage.

  7. I do get tired of hearing new management constantly talk about ‘growing the sport’ as if it’s self-evident. Bernie changed the sport in many ways, right up to the end. Remember the quali format everyone hated, or the idea of wet race sprinklers, or Baku, Korea, Russia, et al? That’s change, even if you don’t like it. But so far, all we’ve heard from Carey are mindless business cliches that ultimately tell us absolutely nothing. I’m not saying that Liberty won’t take F1 in a new direction, but stop treating us like idiots by talking down to us.

    1. You seem to hold Mr Ecclestone in a very high regard, almost at the point of being faultless. While Mr Ecclestone changed the sport, not all change markets the sport positively. For example, by putting the F1 races behind the paywall in my country he changed the sport, and yes, it was beneficial to himself and some of the teams, but he was telling tens of thousands of fans there were better things to be watched and F1 didn’t need fans, and he has happily overseen the repeat of this in many countries, so while he changed the sport, his efforts made F1 unpopular.
      From what you wrote you seem to approve of Mr Ecclestone’s strategy, which then begs the question of should Mr Ecclestone have followed his plan through to the end, i.e. no fans, F1 having no relevance to motor sport, and bankrupt?
      Mr Carey is right in his perception of Mr Ecclestone stunting F1s growth, but Mr Ecclestone knew this long before Mr Carey said it.
      You may not have seen the changes brought to F1 by Mr Carey, but I have and think F1 is better for it.

    2. It’s not empty talk, @YADAYADA. Both the F1 youtube channel and website have already improved massively this year (quantity and quality), and they freed up some of the limitations to share stuff on social media.

      Carey is doing exactly the opposite of ‘treating us like idiots’, he’s treating us like real fans who are hungry for more content.
      He’s critical of the dwarf though, who merely ‘innovated’ by introducing races based on how much money he would get (Baku, Korea, Russia).

  8. Words are cheap and easy from Carey. Waiting to see the plans they put in place. Everything’s pointing at 2020/21 being the first year of their ideas for the future of the sport really being tested. Let’s just wait and see what they actually come up with.

    It could all just be pie in the sky placation before the realities of the political situation with the top teams presents itself.

  9. Free test coverage would be fantastic for the sport. It’d add another layer of hype before the start of the season, while everything is quiet motorsport wise. It’d give sponsors something back for their efforts too, and teams as well.

  10. nelson piquet
    5th May 2017, 5:49

    tests on tv would be great

    1. Putting the RACES on TV should be great!

      1. +1 Tom

      2. Tsk tsk. Slow down there fella, let’s not get crazy and do something radical.

    5th May 2017, 6:33

    I think current lack of public streaming of testing is also partially because the teams don’t want FullHD/4K footage of their innovations easily available for everyone else on the grid. Not that every team doesn’t have their own spies taking pictures , but I’m sure if you could analyse and contrast different cars in slow motion around a corner as many times as you like, I’d imagine that sort of information is very valuable.

    1. Pretty sure not much would be lost by hd stream… Teams have ample data on competitors… Gps traces, detailed laptimes, as many slomo as they want. Maybe official streams would make team operation cheaper.

  12. “IndyCar won much praise for their live, free online coverage of Fernando Alonso’s first test”

    Why does F1 not stream their test days online for free? What does indy have that F1 does not? I hope only Bernie legacy is preventing streams for now, and very soon F1 meets demand of fans around the world…

    1. F1 testing coverage would still be too complex for many casual motorsport fans. Like Alonso said, Indy cars are ‘raw’ ‘just flick the on switch and go’
      I found it more interesting watching Alonso get slowly up to speed, than watching engineers in F1 sandbag for a day.

    2. Why does F1 not stream their test days online for free?

      That would be the worst trade deal in the history of trade deals. We have to build walls closer to the circuit, take Gina out of the calendar, it will be amazing, we will make F1 great again.

      With all seriousness, I don’t get it either. If people don’t see it already what is there to lose if they move it to free streaming?

  13. In the past, teams would have blocked it. McLaren can’t due to the current odd situation of having a world champion in the worst car on the grid. And Zak Brown is still new to this “running a team” thing, so you could excuse him for wanting to keep his drivers happy at all costs – with a few years more experience, I doubt he’d allow the same.

    Then again, if McLaren are this weak in a few years still, he might not be at McLaren anyway. Ojjeh and his investor friends must be running out of patience, even if it isn’t Brown’s fault.

    1. And for clarity, by “worst car” I am not referring to the chassis, obviously(although I believe its efficiency is conveniently overrated by McLaren themselves), but the overall package.

  14. altitude2k
    5th May 2017, 9:04

    How about having one race sit outside the WDC each year, and relax the rules of entry to allow one guest racer per team? Make it a keystone event in the F1 calendar, like the Indy500, and rotate it between key events (Monaco, Silverstone, Spa etc.) each year so as not to monopolise one track?

    1. altitude2k
      5th May 2017, 9:14

      I forgot to add, make it part of the WCC (just not the WDC).

  15. Tony Mansell
    5th May 2017, 9:25

    Jeez what f1 can learn from Indy could be written in a very small book. Cars are awful to look at, drivers are 2nd rate and the racing is on an oval. Enough with the Indy gazing

    That there is huge problems with f1 is not in doubt but marketing is just very expensive sticky tape. You need to get 10 yr olds interested and then you’ve got them for life. At the moment the drivers are pussycat whiners and the cars & tracks are like Japanese bullet trains. You only have to look back a dozen years to see what progress has done to a once fearsome looking sport.

    10 yr olds want to talk about gladiators not radiators.

  16. Someone needs to tell Chase Carey that he needs to fall inline and wholeheartedly support Alonso’ decision. No form of disappointment will be allowed & if he has any such feelings, they should not be aired in public & should be kept to himself.

    1. Andy (@andybantam)
      5th May 2017, 23:58

      I’m sure, privately and personally, he supports him 100%.

      Publically, though, he can’t support it. He’s entrusted with the day to day running of F1. Millions of other peoples pounds are at stake. Given that, Chase publicising the Indy 500 is akin to Apple’s management recommending that consumers give Windows a try.

      To be fair to him, he’s in a tight spot.

  17. I suspect that Liberty and even others in the F1 world would love to live stream testing (what little there is) but I’ll bet there are all sorts of contractual hoops that they just can’t solve in the broadcast contracts that the current broadcasters signed with FOM.

    What surprises me is that not of the current broadcasters seem all that interested in extending their coverage to live streaming of non race events.

    1. @dbradock the broadcasters themselves could easily stream testing for free, they don’t gain anything by charging for it, because the spectators don’t tune in.

      If testing is accessible, maybe some more people would get interested

  18. I think streaming of F1 pre-season testing would be great especially for the initial test where we would be seeing the new cars running on track for the first time. I think that would garner a lot of excitement.

    That said, however, if an actual race like Russia can be so slammed to the weeds as being a bore fest etc by so many people, I just have to wonder if the novelty of streamed cars testing would quickly wear off after a few days. I’m not against it, but nor can I get all that excited about it either. I can see Liberty doing this though, unless there are some good reasons contractually or what have you that would prevent it, and I don’t see how it could hurt if indeed they can do it. I’d be most interested in the first few days to see the teams’ new efforts but otherwise I don’t equate testing with excitement. The novelty of FA testing an Indycar is not the same as ‘run of the mill’ testing in F1.

  19. The problem with covering testing is that it isn’t worth the cost for how few people would watch.

    This Alonso/Indycar test was different for 3 reason’s. Firstly it was a big news story, Secondly been a 1 car test it was more open than normal (Not every Indycar test has that sort of access) & Finally much of the TV equipment was already setup at IMS ready for the month of May & will stay there all month until after the 500.

    In 2013 Sky put together a broadcast of the final F1 test at Barcelona & virtually nobody watched, They grabbed less viewers than they do official practice on a race weekend & a portion of the viewer feedback they got was that it wasn’t that interesting to watch. That is why it’s something they haven’t done again & why no other broadcaster or FOM have done it again since.

    1. I’d also like to point out that Indycar offer live streams during there other test’s & usually get less than 20,000 viewers on Youtube.

      1. Tony Mansell
        5th May 2017, 15:02

        Yes this is some sort of joke right? The answer for f1 is to screen testing??!

    2. Sky only broadcast that test because it needed to test some fancy new 3D equipment, so it genuinely didn’t cost any more than it would have done anyway for them to film events. Otherwise, a company wishing to broadcast the test has to send people to the test and film. I suspect Sky knew it would get a dismal reaction since ITV’s online broadcasts of tests in 2008 rarely had more than 5000 viewers, and it had the entire free-to-air audience to choose from.

      What it shows, for me, is that F1 needs more and stronger narratives. Too often, it’s some spin on “what will happen to these 4 championship-leading drivers?” with either no backup story, or one really obvious one (at the moment, it’s “When will Lance Stroll/McLaren (next) finish a race?”, depending on who seems most likely to DNF that race). There’s more to F1 than that. There are stories that cross seasons, that cross disciplines, that transcend the day-to-day matters of points-collecting and victory celebrations. Indycar harnessed one, and the 2-million-viewer test is part of its reward.

      With a little clever storytelling and fortune on its side, F1 can reap yet larger rewards.

  20. Bluefroggle
    5th May 2017, 13:54

    Would Carey be making this sort of fuss if it was another driver from the back of the grid doing this? Eg Werhlien in the Sauber missing Monaco for Indy500?

    Yes, Alonso is obviously a higher rated driver than Werhlien, but like Werhlien has been at the back of the grid for 3 years.

  21. Thank you for the COTD, @keithcollantine

    Really hoping it comes to fruition.

  22. It would be nice if F1 did some free online broadcast of testing. It needn’t necessarily be constant, a 30 minute daily rundown or something would be a big step forward. I don’t know what the TV contracts are like, but I imagine most of them only cover races.

  23. I think “unfortunate” is spend the weekend and suddenly all work get lost in installation lap…

  24. Interesting to read the comments on that Verstappen article from one year ago. It’s amazing just how near-universally negative the reaction was — it seems absurd now.

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